As Facebook continues to dominate Google+ and boasts of 350 million members and counting, two upstart social networks have launched that say they want to be everything Facebook is not.
Nextdoor, a “private social network for your neighborhood,” wants to create a version of Facebook that is more meaningful and more private. It rolled out nationwide today.
Capitalizing on the anti-corporate sentiment of Occupy Wall Street, Unthink wants to be cause a “social revolution,” and an “anti-Facebook,” that will never infringe on users’ privacy. It opened for invite-only beta testing Tuesday.
At first glance, both seem to be a passing fad, another in the long line of social media sites that try to take on Facebook and bite the dust.
But here’s why both might require a closer look.
Just like community reporting site Patch, farmer’s markets, or locally sourced retail, Nextdoor seems poised to ride the wave of people’s desire to connect back to their community.
According to a 2010 Pew Research Center survey, only 19 percent of people knew all of their neighbor’s names. Only 24 percent knew most of them. An incredible 28 percent knew none of their neighbors, while 29 percent knew some. That’s some serious isolation for a generation of people interested in getting to know their community.
CBS suggests that while people have always wanted to maintain a network of neighbors, “Nextdoor seems promising because our technology has finally caught up with our intentions.”
In a completely different vein, UnThink is in just the right position to tap into the frustration of the global youth who participated in the Arab Spring, and those in the U.S. who are putting their support behind Occupy Wall Street.
In a video promoting the site, an UnThink actress wearing a T-shirt with the words “Wild and Free” says, “I couldn’t wait to tell my story. ... But I never knew that I’d be part of some... puppet show — that you thought you could own me. Well, you can’t own me!”
The “puppet show” to which she’s referring? Facebook.
When Facebook underwent its latest redesign recently, Mashable reported, “Facebook has finally done it. It’s just a few updates away now from euthanizing the concept of privacy.”
In response, one person tweeted, gleefully: “Occupy Facebook!”